About This Blog

I like food. A lot. In this blog, I will divulge all my delicious recipes, giving you a full list of ingredients, step-by-step instructions, and notes to help you successfully make the dish. Feel free to try these at home, and let me know how it went in the comments for the dish! If you have any questions, I will answer them as quickly as possible. If you use my recipe and discuss it on your site, please link back to this blog. Happy eating!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Chicken Enchliada Stuffed Shells

I've been holding out on you guys. What a shame...
I made these fabulous stuffed shells ages and ages ago, but haven't posted about it. Why? Internet. Laziness. The desire to talk about other dishes. These are all excuses. But they are also the truth.
They are so so good, and I hope I'll be making them again sometime soon. But it's no secret: You should make these. They're definitely great for families. Have one? Make this dish for them!
I got the idea for these whilst recipe-hunting and stumbled upon Bev's fabulous recipe. I knew I just had to make these!
I did make some changes to her recipe design. For one, I used some of my own enchilada sauce, as well as some of the canned stuff. I also used fresh spinach instead of frozen spinach. Lastly, I didn't use a packaged taco seasoning, but used my own blend in unmeasured amounts, because that's how I roll.
So let's stop talking about these shells and get to making them! Here's how:


2 Tbsp olive oil
2 chicken breasts
Roughly 20 jumbo shells, or however many fit in your baking dish, cooked and drained
About 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped small
3 chipotle peppers, in their adobo sauce, minced
1 (19 oz) can enchilada sauce
2 cups (or more) Mexi-blend shredded cheese
salt and pepper
A mixture of cumin, coriander, garlic and onion powder, paprika, and cayenne
cilantro leaves, for garnish


Preheat oven to 375.
Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high. Season the chicken on both sides with the seasoning, and sear on one side for six minutes. Flip and sear the other side another five, or until the chicken is cooked through. Set aside to rest for five minutes, then roughly chop. You'll want to chop the chicken pretty small -- remember, the shells aren't that big!
In a large bowl, combine the chopped chicken, chopped spinach and minced chipotle peppers. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Pour about 1/3 of a cup of the enchilada sauce along the bottom of your pan. Shift the pan around so the sauce coats the entire bottom of the pan.
Carefully stuff each cooked shell with the chicken mixture and arrange in the baking dish. Continue until all the shells are evenly stuffed and placed in the dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the shells.
Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the dish and bake for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is browned and bubbly.
Garnish with cilantro.

You may not want to use cilantro if you have diners who think it tastes like soap (I learned that this is a genetic thing. How crazy!).
We had to use two dishes for this, because I didn't have a standard 9 X 13 inch pan and even though I plotted out the shells prior to cooking, I still ended up with extra. So... moral of the story is, you should probably just own a standard size baking pan.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Spring is officially here, and that means it's a great time for granola bars, especially homemade one. They're a great after school/work snack, wonderful for breaks whilst hiking, and all around satisfying to eat.

This is another recipe that's been sitting in my archive whilst I wait for decent internet access to bring these to the fore. So here they are. You should make these, and give them to your family and your kids and your coworkers and let them marvel at how awesome they are.
Oh, and as a bonus: they're so simple, it's practically sinful!

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1 egg
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups steel rolled or old fashioned oats (do not use instant oats)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.
Blend together all the wet ingredients in a bowl.
Add the dry ingredients, mixing until incorporated.
Stir in the chocolate chips.
Press the mixture into a brownie pan (I used a 12x8 pyrex dish)
Bake for 12-15 minutes.
Cool on the counter for about five to ten minutes, or until baking dish is handle-able. Place in the refrigerator to cool completely, then cut into individual bars.
Store in the fridge to keep the chocolate from melting.

You definitely have to wait until it's totally cooled, or the chocolate will be all melty and you won't be able to cut it effectively.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Vegan Chocolate Pudding (with avocado!)

That's right -- with avocado! Did you know that you could make amazing delicious, and 90% healthy chocolate pudding with an avocado? Until late last year, neither did I!
Oh, don't mind Scrutinizing Vegeta behind the cup, there. He just sits there...judging me.
Anyway, I wanted to make a super quick and delicious little treat to surprise Rich with sometime last year, and after poking around, I discovered that people were making pudding with avocados, and I thought, "Gosh! What a great idea! I have a ripe avocado at home!" So I gathered some ideas and made this pudding. It was so good, and it is definitely everything chocolate pudding should be: dense, rich chocolate-y, and oh-so satisfying. So if you want to try something new, give this a go! I promise you will not be disappointed!

1 ripe avocado, seed removed
2 tbsp sweet berries, such as raspberries or blueberries
2 tbsp cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark cocoa)
1 tbsp maple syrup

Mash the avocado, then blend up all the ingredients together in a food processor (or you could whisk it really well).
Serve with fresh berries and a dusting of cocoa powder.

And that's it! It's so easy, it's barely a recipe. Just a quick note: definitely make sure you mash the avocado really really well if you are going to whisk everything together -- you don't want avocado chunks surprising you as you enjoy your treat!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Trashed Up Pasta e Fagioli

So, I eat beans now. I have always always hated beans. My dad would always have black beans when we had tacos, and whenever I was made to try them, I gagged and wanted to puke and whined about why anyone would want to eat anything so terrible. I hated canned baked beans, but grudgingly ate them, because that's what we had to go with the hot dogs.
The only thing I've ever consistently enjoyed beans in was chili.
Let me tell you a secret: There are like eight cans of beans on my pantry shelves right now. I love beans. I love their meaty texture and fabulous flavour. I love how versatile they are. I love how healthy and awesome for your body they are. I can't get enough of them. The best part? Rich is really into them now, too. Shortly after I got my wisdom teeth removed and was still on a mostly liquid diet, we were talking about our meal plan for the following week, when I would hopefully be able to eat more solid foods, and he said, "Let's have something with beans. I really want beans." Eating beans is a huge step in our diet adjustment. So awesome.
Anyway, this dish started as a side dish to this beef and sweet potato turnovers I was making. I wanted something light on the side, and so this was just going to be carrots, peas, and mushrooms. Simple, light, a good accompaniment. And then Rich said, "Can we add beans to this?" and so we threw in some beans. And then we added fire roasted tomatoes, and then pasta, and then it all got spiced up. And this is what we ended up with.
I don't know how to make a traditional pasta e fagioli (can't be that hard), but I bet it's not quite like this.
Also, this is in my top ten of favourite soups now.

1/2 package of frozen peas and carrots, or 1/2 cup of peas and diced carrots
1/2 package mushrooms, cleaned and sliced thin
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can fire roasted tomatoes, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
4-6 ounces small pasta (pictured here is ditalini)
4 cups vegetable stock
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 to 1 tsp each garlic and onion powder, oregano

Add a small amount of oil to a large pot at medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
Add peas, carrots, beans, tomatoes, stock, and seasonings to the pot. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat slightly, add pasta, and cover. Cook until pasta is al dente.
Add mushrooms, and cook a few minutes more. At this point, the pasta should be softer.

That's it. It's so easy. So healthy. So awesome. And filling! It was a little much with the turnovers, so I would probably put less in the bowl if you're having anything else with this soup.
An alternative to cooking the pasta in the broth is to cook it separately in water and add it to the soup. It's a matter of personal preference. I find that pasta cooked in water and added absorbs less broth over the next few days.
Anyway, stop listening to me talk about this soup and go make it! You won't regret it.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Whole Wheat Couscous with Apple, Walnuts, and Pomegranate

I love autumn for lots of reasons, but I specifically love late autumn because that's when pomegranates start to be on sale. I know some people say that the time it takes to get all the arils out and the membranes away from them is not worth it, but it totally is. I love pomegranates. So good. And apples? Well, let's just say that being born and raised in Upstate New York, where apple orchards are plentiful ensured that I want to eat apples all the time.
Also, want to know something that's weird? Everything here in PA is cheaper than in New York. Except apples. They're at least twice as expensive. It's insane.
Anyway, I got the inspiration for this dish when I saw someone had made thyme scented barley, and I thought that was super neat. Like, why not?
I do have a bag of barley on the pantry shelf, but I definitely don't have the patience to cook it most of the time, so I decided on an alternative. And whole wheat pearl couscous was where it's at. A genius substitution, if I do say so myself.
One thing I love about this dish is that it can go with pretty much anything and everything. We first paired it with kielbasa, and then another time with fish. I've had it with a sandwich, and all by itself, with a fruit cup on the side. This little dish outshines EVERYTHING I put it with. It's probably the perfect side.
Oh, and the bonus? It's good hot OR cold. If I have some for lunch the next day, I'll give it a thirty second shot in the microwave to get rid of the refrigerator chill, and it's perfect.
Oh, and it's vegan, if you care about that kind of thing.
So, what are you waiting for? Make this dish. I promise you won't be disappointed.

1 cup whole wheat pearl couscous
1 1/4 cup water
3 fresh sprigs thyme
1 fuji or honeycrisp apple, skin on, cut into cubes
The arils from 1 pomegranate
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
dried parsley
olive oil

In a small or medium saucepan, bring the water (with a touch of salt) to boil. Add thyme and couscous and reduce heat. Cover and simmer 8-10 minutes, until water is absorbed.
Meanwhile, dry toast the walnuts by adding them to a pan on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant (do not use oil to toast nuts!).
When couscous is cooked, remove thyme sprigs (many of the leaves will likely have come off) and discard. Add a small amount of olive oil and stir to prevent couscous sticking together.
Stir in nuts, pomegranate arils, and apple.
Serve garnished with parsley.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Almond Quinoa with Kale, Sweet Potatoes, Mushrooms

Let me start off by saying that this dish is INSANE. There's so much fabulous flavour happening here, that it's impossible to care that it's vegetarian. Plus, you'll be full by the time you finish a bowl this size, so there's no room for meat.
Kind of off topic, but can I just say that I really truly hate labeling people based on what they eat and then judging their character based on that classification? Like, meat eaters so often assume that vegetarians or vegans are crazy for not eating meat, or drinking milk or whatever, or that they're malnourished, because meat eaters cannot fathom obtaining protein from non-meat sources, or that they're "bleeding heart liberals," whatever that means.
And on the flip side, vegans and vegetarians are prone to thinking that meat eaters are cruel horrible who would murder every animal on earth for food if they could. Somehow, meat eaters are less moral for eating something that used to have a beating heart once.
And I hate that, especially because I don't fall into either of the categories, and I sometimes get flak for that. Like, some days, I'll eat something that's vegan and I get a ton of vegans liking my posts, and then the next day I'm eating meat and those same vegans freak out and say I'm a monster or something.
Some people use the word "Flexitarian," to say that they eat plants some days and animals other days. Sometimes they drink cow's milk. Most days they eat a plant based diet but they like the occasional scrambled egg.
Seriously, why complicate it? If someone asked me what my "classification" is, I'd tell them the truth: I'm an omnivore. I eat meat and plants. Humans are naturally (and scientifically) classified as an omnivore species. That's what I am. I eat meat and plants, just like a large portion of the human population, and I generally try to eat healthy and in season. It's not complicated.
That said, I have stopped drinking cow's milk, and I drink soy milk now, exclusively, but not for any other reason than I feel better when I drink soy and I like the taste. But I love me some grilled cheese. Mmmm.
Anyway, rant over. Back to this recipe. Almost vegan friendly. I found the inspiration for this recipe at Real Simple, and really liked the idea. Then I made modifications to it because I'm weird like that.

1 cup quinoa
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small sweet potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup almonds, dry toasted
1 package white mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 bunch kale, stems discarded and leaves torn into 2-inch pieces
3/4 cup dry white wine
salt and pepper, to taste
grated fresh Parmesan

Place the quinoa and 2 cups water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until water is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes. When cooked, stir in the toasted almonds.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
Add the sweet potatoes and mushrooms and cook, tossing occasionally, until golden and beginning to soften, 5 to 6 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add the kale, wine, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook, tossing often, until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
Serve the vegetables over the quinoa and sprinkle with the Parmesan.

And that's it. It's really simple, delicious, and healthy. Make it vegan and skip the cheese.
I added almonds to this partially because I think almonds and quinoa are a match made in heaven, but also for healthy fats. It adds a nice, flavourful crunch to the dish.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Kale and Kielbasa Hash

Have I mentioned before that I kind of love breakfast?
Yeah. I love breakfast.
This is another one of those recipes where I sort of just Frankenstein some stuff together, and it ends up really fabulous. I think it all started with some kielbasa that I had thawed out for dinner, and then it just never happened. It sat in the fridge and I kept avoiding it, and then I said, "Well, I might as well do something about this so it doesn't go bad." And then I just sort of pulled other stuff out of the fridge and threw it all together and Rich barely came up for air, he loved it so much.
This was really great with some fluffy scrambled eggs, and we were left feeling full and happy, which was great because we'd just come back from a run.
If you want to try something a little different for breakfast, allow me to suggest this trashed up hash.

3 large red potatoes, skin on, cut into small pieces
1/2 of a kielbasa, cut into thin rounds
1/2 cup kale, stems removed and roughly torn
salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, to taste
Dijon mustard, to taste

Start by adding a small amount of olive oil to a large pan over medium heat. Add the potatoes and salt, pepper, chili, and garlic powders. Stir frequently, and cook until potatoes are just tender. Allow them to brown a little!
Add a small knob of butter and melt. Add kielbasa and cook.
Add kale and cook until slightly wilted. Add Dijon mustard, tossing to coat.
Serve with eggs and/or toast.

Dijon mustard is the secret ingredient here. It really pulls everything together. As for how much I used? I didn't really measure it. I sort of just poured some in, stirred around, and repeated that until a good sort of glaze formed. If I had to guess, I probably added between a half and full tablespoon. My suggestion would be to add some in, stir it, and give it a taste and if the flavour isn't strong enough for you, add some more.